Last week in my Second City class, we were assigned to write a sketch about an event or person from history. We worked on a few ideas in class, and I pitched something about the 1886 Haymarket Riot. Awesome idea, right? What with the anarchists, the bombs, the hanging of the aforementioned anarchists, and the subsequent burning of an effigy of the Illinois Governor, who couldn't make that funny?
My teacher mentioned that uh, it might be a little challenging to set it up, which led me into an unsolicited bit with me wondering why we don't burn people in effigy anymore. What a powerful image, I said, to which a a few agreed.
They do it every where else, the teacher said, so why not? True dat. Google "burning in effigy" and you see the Pope, President Clinton, some Indian Cricket star, and the guy you see here--Monsieur Carnaval--going up in flames.
A fellow student guessed that effigies take alot of work, so why would you turn around and set it on fire? That makes sense. I like crafts. If I was going to burn say--Ann Coulter--in effigy, I'd really throw myself into the project. I'd spend a lot of money at Glick for art supplies and order the effigy outfits out of the Chico's catalog. So yeah, I guess when it came time to drag her out to Daley Plaza and douse her with lighter fluid and set her ablaze with a lit cigarette, I'd balk.
Back to Monsieur Carnaval who I'm now fascinated with and more than a little pissed that Mrs. Johnson from high school French class never told me about. How strange are these people:
"In France, Carnival is a big celebration held before the beginning of the Christian fasting season of Lent. French adults and children who celebrate Carnival will dress up in costumes and have parties. And, at the end, they will burn an effigy of Monsieur Carnaval. Monsieur Carnaval is responsible for all the wrongdoing people do throughout the year."